Is it Normal for Your Air Conditioner to Run All Day?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Is it Normal for Your Air Conditioner to Run All Day

No, your air conditioner should not run all day, even in the middle of July in Charlotte or the Carolinas.

Your AC unit should not run all the time. If your air conditioner is running without cooling your home, that’s an additional issue. It’s likely and fine for an AC system to run more often at times. It should never run all day long, no matter the heat or weather outside.

When the AC Should Run More Often

When it’s hotter outside, the AC should run more, but not non-stop. The warmer the temperature is outdoors, the longer your air conditioner will go to get an indoor space to the set temperature.

Longer runs times are good in these circumstances. It means the AC unit is functioning the way it should. The AC should still be cycling on and off correctly. Even on the hottest days, it should reach the temperature the thermostat is set on and cycle off.

When to Worry

There are some indications all is not well in your AC system.

  • The AC system never ever shuts off. It’s running constantly, non-stop.
  • Your energy costs are skyrocketing, yet you aren’t running your air conditioning in a different way.
  • The air temperature level doesn’t seem to change, no matter how you change the thermostat or AC settings.

If you’re having one or more of these problems, specifically the AC running non-stop, it’s time to get help and solve the problem.

Why an AC Runs All the Time

There are a few different reasons which can cause an AC problem, including an AC running all day, non-stop.

Obstructed Air Flow

Your AC needs to be able to breathe. If air circulation to or from the unit is blocked, your AC system is most likely going to have a hard time working. That means it’s likely to run more as it tries to compensate. It’s trying to reach your temperature setting, never reaching the temperature, so continuing to run.

Common problems that can limit air flow to your air conditioning are

  • A dirty or clogged air filter
  • A worn or failed motor
  • Duct leaks
  • Shut or blocked vents

You can check this by holding your hand up to an open vent. Do you feel a cool but weak air flow?

The first thing you should do is turn off your AC and replace the air filters. After that make sure all vents are clear. If you’re still not noticing a difference, call an expert technician.

Dirty Coils

Refrigerant goes through the evaporator coils and absorbs the heat from the air in your home. When the evaporator coils are clean, it works quite simply.

But if there’s dirt, dust, pollen or mold on the evaporator coils, it’s difficult for the cooling agent to absorb warmth. All those layers create a barrier, and the AC just continues running with little effect. Yet you do not cool air efficiently in the house. Dirty coils may lead to all sorts of larger uses with an HVAC or AC system.

As a matter of fact, the system will wind up doing the opposite of its function. The AC can output warm air rather than cold air. This is something that is included in routine maintenance service by South End.

Refrigerant Leak

When the system doesn’t have sufficient refrigerant, your air conditioning runs all the time trying to get to the set temperature.

Cooling agent is never intended to run out or need refilling. The only time it’s required? When there’s a leak, which probably means damage to a component.

You’ll find out you have a leak if there’s frozen buildup on your air conditioner, the home isn’t getting cooler, or the AC hisses. If you do have a leak, get it repaired and “top off” the refrigerant. It does no good to get more refrigerant without fixing the damage and leak.

The AC Needs to be Replaced

No one ever wants to hear this, but it happens. Most AC units, even with the right upkeep and maintenance, last about 15 years. It may be time to take out the old unit and buy a new one. As it ages, an AC unit will normally have to work more to give the results you expect. An AC that runs constantly, is older than 10 years old, and needs regular repair services is just costing you cash with its inefficiency.

An AC Unit is a Mismatch

This one is a bitter pill to take, too, because there’s just one way to solve it.

An AC unit may be the wrong size for the home or structure. It has to run more trying to condition a space that’s too large. It also means more wear quicker on the unit and system. You’re looking at more repairs and a shorter life.

We’ve seen it numerous times. As opposed to getting a new, expert home examination, owners get the same dimension AC they had in the past in the current model. But AC units are more effective each year: what worked 10 years ago is not the right fit today.

Unfortunately, the only way to permanently resolve this issue is to get a properly-sized AC unit, which is a large, unexpected expense. If you’re due for an air conditioning system, choosing the right expert team is the first step to not having this major problem.


At South End Heating and Air we are Charlotte’s affordable AC experts. Call us anytime for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

We're ready to help with all your needs!

Book Online Book Online